As we come to the end of this three part series it is important to note what's happened in the previous two parts. Almost a third of this class is not currently graduating with UM. Whether it's from academic issues, discipline issues or even arrest warrants; we've seen it all. If anything can be taken away from this look back it's that recruiting is an inexact science. In the end it comes down to if a player has the right mentality when he steps onto campus, if he has an opportunity to contribute at some point and sometimes just dumb luck when it comes to being in the right position to help the team excel on the field.
(Sr.) Stephen Morris, #48 Quarterback (***)
Morris came into the program as an unheralded recruit. Mark Whipple (congrats on getting the HC job at UMass by the way, Mark!!) hand picked him to be the next great QB at UM and although many were left scratching their heads at the commitment, he's made an impact on the team. Post his junior year many were raving that Morris could be a late first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft because of his sterling play at the Manning Passing Academy. However, due to an injury in essentially an exhibition game (SSU) his senior season wasn't necessarily derailed but, many could argue, his production was crippled for 4-6 weeks in the middle to late part of the season due to a balky ankle that he played on.
I feel like Morris' senior year was a microcosm of what was seen at the UM program as a whole. If you look at his end of season stats he had an alright year but if you go game by game and watch the film you'll begin to see that many receivers were missed in open space and a few games got away from him that shouldn't have.
(Sr.) Allen Hurns, #193 Wide Receiver (***)
Throughout this series we've seen a lot of puzzling selections when it comes to middle to lower tier recruits that the everyday Miami fan would go "why did we bring this guy in?" Shannon brought Hurns in because he was an above average receiver and could block relatively well for his age. In fact, that's what he primarily did his freshman year. Let me rephrase the last statement.. Hurns played his freshman year instead of redshirting (we'd have him another year if he had) because Coach Shannon wanted to use him as a goal line receiver, to block.. Yea..
Anyways, Hurns had a great senior year. He was easily Morris' favorite target and was viewed by many on the team as a critical leader who helped lead the team through the good times and bad. Lastly, he set the single season receiving yardage record for the Canes, no small feat.
(Sr.) Kelvin Cain, #73 Outside Linebacker (***)
This series has had a lot of players that were supposed "diamonds in the rough" and Cain was no different as his only other scholarship offer was from Nevada. He was a late pickup, being offered and accepting a scholarship about two weeks before signing day in 2010. During his duration at UM he's split his time at defensive end and linebacker but has never really mastered either. He's played primarily on the special teams units and has contributed as a backup the last 4 years earning spotty duty along the way.
(Sr.) Maurice Hagens, #4 Fullback (***)
Fullbacks have really hard luck when it comes to scouting boards. The fact of the matter is not many teams in the college ranks utilize a true fullback anymore due to the spread offenses/passing game advancements in the last five to ten years. With that said, Hagens was rated highly coming out of high school and has made a lasting impression on this team. The fullback in almost all offenses, if used, is rarely noticed due to being almost exclusively a blocker on all plays. During the last few years that's the role Hagens has held and he's done it well.
(RS. Jr.) Jermaine Barton, #83 Offensive Tackle (***)
Barton was another player asked to leave the team once Golden set foot on campus. As a redshirt freshman he left for Illinois State and per their website started all of the 2012 season at Tackle. I couldn't find much on him for 2013 but it looks like he declared for the draft and is rated a mid to late round lineman. We'll have to see where he ends up if he's picked up.
(RS Jr.) Malcolm Bunche, Offensive Tackle, No Rating (NR)
Prep School can be really great for football players. They go for a year, get their grades up and go to the college of their choosing with a clean slate, ready to play. Unlike most of this class who seemed to go the Pre School route and fall into an abyss, Bunche was able to go that route and come to UM in this class and thrive. His redshirt sophomore year saw him unseat Seantrell Henderson for the starting left tackle position but this season he took a step back as other players outperformed him to earn more time (Ereck Flowers, Linder and Feliciano specifically). Next season Bunche will be counted on to be used heavily in that starting line rotation again. Look for him to have a good, possibly great senior season.
(RS Jr.)Andrew Tallman, #47 Tight End (***)
I have mixed feelings for Tallman. He came to UM and stated flatly he didn't want to play along the offensive line. He was fine with playing either Tight End or Defensive End. What happened when he got to campus? His suitemates were Brandon Linder, Jonathan Feliciano and Jermaine Barton. Yea, he either didn't get the message or Coach Shannon and his staff may have misled him on his future as a Cane in regards to positions.. During his freshman year he redshirted and once Shannon was let go Golden asked Tallman to take on a role as an offensive lineman. With that request by the new coaching staff Tallman decided to transfer.
Tallman transferred to the University Richmond and well, hasn't played much if at all.. If you guys are interested in knowing, he's playing defensive end.
(RS Jr.) Clive Walford, Tight End, No Ranking (NR)
Walford was a relative unknown when he came to UM. He played basketball as a high schooler but Coach Shannon offered him a scholarship and he's been a pleasant surprise ever since. Walford is primarily a receiving tight end who had a good redshirt junior year when it comes to reception numbers and he even flirted with going pro but decided to come back for his senior season. Look for him to make major contributions next season as UM will run out primarily smaller, speedy wide receivers (Dorsett, Waters and Coley). Due to the size on the outside, he should get lots of looks in the red zone.
(Sr.) James "Jimmy" Gaines, Middle Linebacker, No Ranking (NR)
Even though Kelvin Cain was listed as a two or three star recruit on many sites, Gaines wasn't listed at all, period, by many sites. He played out of Buffalo, New York which was not exactly a "recruiting pipeline" for UM but he didn't disappoint when he got on the field. He started most of the 2013 season at Middle Linebacker and was a top tackler on the team for the last two seasons.
With Gaines you have to keep everything in perspective. Was he a beast, Jonathan Vilma type player? Absolutely not. But, was it ever thought that he would be in the same mold? No. He was a guy that Coach Shannon brought in and Al Golden developed to the best of his ability on the defensive front.
(Graduated) Chase Ford, Tight End, No Ranking (NR)
Do you all remember how excited we were when UM brought in Beau Sandland and everyone started to make comparisons to Jeremy Shockey? A la, the tight end out of Junior College that would make an instant impact on the field and be a match up nightmare for all the opposition. Well, before Sandland was a incoming player named Chase Ford. His stats at UM were relatively pedestrian for the two years he had left of eligibility.. He finished with 16 receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns. I will mention though, he currently plays for the Minnesota Vikings and got some burn this season in the final few games so he has represented "The U" in the pro's.
I'm not going to comment on the recruiting process to finish this article but rather this class as a whole. In the end, Coach Shannon took "a swag" at a lot of risky recruits that flat out didn't pan out for the program. This has effected what we are currently seeing today due to the fact that many of these players should be either RS juniors or seniors in the program currently and they simply aren't there. Due to the fact that 10 of the 30 players recruited aren't even on campus, you have say this class was debilitating to the progress this team would eventually be making in the future years. There were a few players who made a large, long standing impact on this team (Morris, Hurns, Linder, etc.) but overall, for the most part this class's impact was ineffective or simply nonexistent.
See the Breakdown:
- Seantrel Henderson (LT, RT)
- Brandon Linder (G)
- Shane McDermott (G,C)
- Jonathan Feliciano (G,C)
- Stephen Morris (QB)
- Allen Hurns (WR)
- Maurice Hagens (FB)
- Malcolm Bunche (RT,LT)
- Clive Walford (TE)
- Jimmy Gaines (MLB)
- David Perry (DL)
- Eduardo Clements (RB)
- Tyrone Cornelius (LB)
- Asante Cleveland (TE)
- Kacy Rodgers (S)
- Kelvin Cain (DL)
- Storm Johnson (Playing Time)
- Kevin Nelson (Dismissed)
- Keion Payne (Dismissed)
- Jeremy Davis (Academics)
- Darion Hall (Dismissed)
- Delmar Taylor (Academics)
- Devont'a Davis (Dismissed)
- Travis Williams (Dismissed)
- Jermaine Barton (Dismissed)
- Andrew Tallman (Playing Time)
- Chase Ford - currently on the Minnesota Vikings
Hasn't Played College Ball (3)
- Tavadis Glenn (Academics)
- Latwan Anderson (Academics)
- Jeffrey Brown (Criminal Investigation)